Born: April 29, 1975 Primary Instrument: Sax, alto
The sounds of yesterday, today, and tomorrow are generated from the mind and soul of Julius Tolentino. With sophisticated technique and skilled interpretation, Julius creates a sound that is unique while also based on tradition. Composer and performer, Julius builds a rapport with his audience and strives to produce an authentic portrayal of jazz music.
Born in Bloomfield, NJ, Julius started studying piano at the age of 7. He continued his musical endeavors, which included clarinet when he was 10. By 13 Julius made the transition to alto saxophone. It was with this instrument that Julius began to explore his love for jazz.
While in high school, Julius performed in regional and all-state bands and won over a dozen soloist awards. To further his musical career Julius applied to the Hartt School of Music with the desire to study with jazz legend Jackie McLean. Julius was pleased to learn of his acceptance and scholarship to the program.
Upon graduation Julius moved to New York and has continued his career performing with Philip Harper, Antonio Hart, Vanessa Rubin, Cecil Bridgewater, Charlie Persip, Dion Parsons, Eric Reed, Marcus Printup, Craig Handy, Billy Drummond, Wes Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Kevin Mahogany, Christian McBride, Natalie Cole, Cecil Brooks III, Kioshi Kitagawa, Marleena Shaw, and Cyrus Chestnut. In 1999 Julius joined the highly acclaimed Illinois Jacquet Big Band performing, touring, and recording with the jazz legend for 5 years. Julius was chosen to be apart of a recording (Sharp Nine, On The Loose) showcasing the young lions on the New York scene released in 2001. Since then he has toured all over the US, Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Julius has played in the top jazz venues and festivals in the US, which includes Avery Fisher Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, Tanglewood, the Village Vanguard, Birdland, Blue Note, the Jazz Standard and Dizzy’s Coca Cola. As a leader his debut cd “Just the Beginning” on the Sharp Nine label peaked at #8 on the jazz charts in 2006.
Julius is dedicated to jazz education and is currently the Jazz Director at Newark Academy a private school in Livingston, NJ and the Director of Large Ensembles at Jazz House Kids in Montclair. As a Vandoren, P Mauriat and RS Berklee artist he has conducted region jazz bands and has been a guest artist/clinician for numerous summer jazz programs.
Awards:"Inside NJ", The Best of New Jersey,- category Jazz Musician; Illinois Jacquet Educator of the Year- 2013
David Orthmand, All About Jazz- Tolentino's maturity and willingness to make the record more than just a showcase for his own talent is apparent as he shares the writing, arranging, and solo space with an able crew of band mates. Another positive sign is the patience and attention to detail he puts into sculpting improvisations.